Votes swinging to PH-BN not enough to capture Kelantan yet, experts say

07 Aug 2023 07:30am
Rafizi Ramli - Photo by Bernama
Rafizi Ramli - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Rafizi Ramli has claimed that there has been increased Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) support in Kelantan, however, this has stirred up a debate among experts and political analysts.

Experts shared differing opinions and insights, shedding light on the intricacies of this assertion as the state heads into elections.

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) associate professor of political Science Dr Syaza Shukri acknowledged a potential shift towards the PH-BN alliance and underscored the importance of factoring in out-of-state voters who often lean towards Pas.

"We need to take into consideration out-of-state voters who tend to vote for Pas in Kelantan.

"Whatever it is, the swing is not enough for PH-BN to win Kelantan, but a slight swing would already be a moral boost," Syaza said.

Syaza also speculates on the implications of a PH-BN victory for resolving the state's pressing water issue, along with other challenges, showcasing the multifaceted nature of political change.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Ethnic Studies Deputy Director Institute Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib highlighted a significant aspect of the candidate lineup, noting that the majority of contenders are political newcomers without the weight of established figures.

"In Kelantan, the majority of candidates are newcomers, lacking heavyweight figures with strong personas.

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"I suspect Rafizi is trying to reassure his PH supporters, but it might be wishful thinking," Kartini said.

Kartini draws attention to the broader context, suggesting that the negative perceptions of PH's leadership shortcomings and unfulfilled promises, coupled with BN's corruption allegations, could overshadow even the longstanding water supply issues that have long plagued Kelantan.

Further on that, Pacific Research Centre of Malaysia principal adviser Dr Oh Ei Sun dismissed Rafizi's claim as mere campaign rhetoric and implied that Rafizi might not grasp the core concerns of Kelantan's majority.

"I think it’s first of all just bravado talk by Rafizi on the campaign trail.

"Also, it does not appear that he understands the priorities of the vast majority of voters here, which are not so much the socioeconomic issues he touted but the desire to preserve what they perceive as a conservative and pristine society with heavy religious undertones," Oh said.

However, Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin emphasised the importance of data-backed claims.

He highlights the discrepancy between Rafizi's assertions and the absence of substantial supporting data.

"Despite holding the position of Economy Minister, his statements often lack the backing of concrete statistics or empirical data.

"As a result, it becomes difficult to take his claims seriously, especially when they lack the necessary empirical foundation, Shamsul told Sinar Daily.

He asserts that a solid empirical foundation is crucial to enhancing the trustworthiness of statements and the credibility of their sources.

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